Time to read: 6 minutes

If you are considering renting office space in Outer London as an alternative to being in the centre, it’s essential you understand the pros and cons before making a decision.

The opening of the Elizabeth Line and the impact of the pandemic are two recent game-changers, which is why we’ve rewritten this Beginners Guide to finding office space in Outer London from the ground up. The good news is it’s not that difficult to digest and understand. Fundamentally it’s still a trade-off between convenience and cost. Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be fully equipped to make an educated decision.

Here is everything you’ll learn in this guide:

What do we mean by Outer London?

It’s easier to define Outer London by what it isn’t. Central London includes all the areas covered in our location guide and our rental guide. Outer London refers to anything within Greater London that falls outside the centre. Specifically, anything to the west of Paddington and Kensington, east of Shoreditch and Canary Wharf, north of King’s Cross, Euston and Farringdon and south of Victoria and Waterloo. Have a look at the map on our location guide and zoom out a bit. Outer London is a vast area.

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The cost differentials between Outer and Central London

Simply put, it’s significantly more expensive to rent office space in Central London. Although there is notable variation in costs across Central London, office rents and business rates are higher across the board when compared to Outer London. With the exception of the area between the centre and Heathrow, all locations West, East, North and South of Central London are far less costly.

Historically, there’s has been more demand for Central London office space, primarily because of the profile and convenience. If your clients and/or suppliers were also based in the centre then it makes sense for your business to be within close proximity – either by bus, tube, cab, bike or on foot. Central London really is remarkably compact. For many businesses, the profile and convenience of Central London are still vital – hence the premium on rents. However there have been significant changes in recent years. Renting office space in Outer London has now become viable for some locations.

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Game changer #1: The Elizabeth Line

Outer London has been connected by the existing public transport – tube, overground railway and buses – for decades. However the opening of the Elizabeth Line in May 2022 was a game changer – because of its speed.

The speed of the Elizabeth line means that many Outer London areas have become viable office locations for many more businesses overnight!

The Elizabeth line runs from Reading and Heathrow in the West, travelling directly under the West End, The City and Docklands to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East. Travelling from Ealing Broadway in West London to Tottenham Court Road in the centre takes a mere 14 minutes, compared to 30mins on the existing Central Line tube!

Because of the Elizabeth Line, Outer London locations such as Ealing, Acton, Southall, Woolwich and Romford have become viable office locations for many more businesses. Crucially, this comes at a much lower cost than Central London. Of course as the Elizabeth Line runs East to West, communications North and South of the centre remain inferior, but if locations along the new line fit the bill, this is a game changer.

Some examples of Elizabeth Line travel times

Outer London Location Journey Time Example
Stratford 8 mins to Liverpool Street
Ilford 23 mins to Tottenham Court Road
Romford 34 mins to Canary Wharf
Acton 6 mins to Paddington
Ealing Broadway 13 mins to Bond Street
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Game changer #2: The pandemic and working from home (WFH)

It goes without saying that Working From Home (WFH) during the pandemic changed the habits and expectations of millions of office workers. In the aftermath, few now go to the office every day. It’s our prognosis that hybrid working – a mix of office based and home working  – is here to stay.

If you live in Outer London, working in an office in the same location – maybe even within walking distance from home – may well be the answer.

However, many people however find it difficult to actually work effectively from home. This could be down to lack of appropriate space, domestic interruptions or just the practical and psychological need to mix with colleagues on a regular basis. In our opinion, younger employees suffer disproportionately from the lack of office time. Passive learning – picking up skills simply by regularly being around more experienced colleagues cannot be replicated by Zoom. It’s also more challenging to develop the social skills that you would acquire naturally in the workplace.

On the other hand, working from home is convenient and avoids the wasted hours and expense of the commute on a crowded train. Many people have become accustomed to the flexibility that working from home offers.

If you live in Outer London, working in an office in the same location – maybe even within walking distance from home – may well be the answer. And you can still be in Central London to meet a client – remarkably quickly if you live along the Elizabeth Line. Once upon a time this would have been a slog.

Looking for Office Space in Outer London?

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Office availability in Outer London

In the past, lack of demand for office space in peripheral areas of London also meant lack of availability. However there is stock which will increase in quantity and quality over time. Some disused shop units in suburban high streets have been converted and repurposed into modern, flexible and convenient office space. Serviced offices are available on a flexible basis to suit a modern agile business.

Venture X Building 7 566, Chiswick Park, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick Park, London, W4 5YG
Flexible Modern Office Space in Outer London:  Venture X Chiswick Park London W4 5YG
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How to find office space in Outer London

Simple. Our London Office Search covers all of Greater London. Simply type in your location and the number of people you need to accommodate. Our office search engine will generate a list of all nearby available office space.

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Our conclusion: renting office space in Outer London is a viable alternative

Whilst trade-offs between convenience and cost still exist, the Elizabeth Line has changed the way we think about Outer London office options. Rapid train times have converted commercially unfashionable, peripheral London locations into viable office locations. Demand for conveniently located, flexible space, built for the age of hybrid working will transform the market. Are you planning to take advantage of renting office space in Outer London?

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